Reclaiming Rainbows

I’m publishing this post a lot later than I had hoped to (next post will explain why) but I still believe in its pertinence.

How do you describe a rainbow to a blind person?

With difficulty.

How do you explain the dis-ease that is a serial disrespector of colour, creed or cash?

With great difficulty, if at all. A disease that causes those in the public eye like Robin Williams and those less known, like my friends’ parent to ‘top themselves.’

For many the first emotion was shock. Not for me. It was a mix of envy/admiration for being able to state ‘world I’ve had enough, I’m outta here’ instead of pleading ‘stop the world, I want to get off’.

It’s this implied two fingers at everything and everyone that gives suicide the label as ‘a most selfish act’. After all, it’s a crime punishable by jail time in India and Singapore and a sin punishable by eternal hell in the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).

Yet for the suicider life may have become death measured in breaths, a never-ending torture session. Self-dissolution may be perceived as a final generous gesture to loved ones, ridding the world of their burdened and burdensome existence. Don’t we put down animals to end their misery?

Despite bandying around diagnoses like clinical depression and bipolar disorder, clinicians still understand very little about how the brain functions. And the pills and potions prescribed aren’t that far removed from the miracle cures of the Victorian Era: cocaine for toothache, tobacco for bronchitis and morphine for malaria.

Talking therapies are increasingly advocated as a deterrent to the act of self-termination. There is a feeling that in coming together and seeking a Higher Self, we can affirm each other. So like the ladies in Ntozoake Shange’s play, for coloured girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf, we can all move to the end of our rainbows.

While some seek a Higher Power and are comforted and deterred by the call to ‘come follow me, and I’ll give you rest.’ However, for many these are empty words of a deluded rebel or misunderstood prophet.

But what becomes of the broken-hearted who never have answers, no matter how detailed the suicide note?

And what of the rest of us? For suicide is a growing epidemic, positively correlated with rising prosperity. The stark truth is that even if we don’t know someone who has committed suicide, we’ll know of someone. I think it is a response to suffering and suffering is a way of life. Even the Dharmic (Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism) religions agree with the monotheistics on this.

So while some of us will reclaim our rainbows after the storm, for many of us, the storm is unrelenting and eventually becomes untenable.

Do you reclaim the rainbow after the storm?



Compliment or Complain?

Kofi’s birthday fell on the first day of Eid so we were disinclined to go out. Coming to the end of my 11 day holiday, we decided to celebrate on the Sunday 3 August by going for a meal.

In Qatar, only restaurants in some hotels are licensed so I’ve never frequented as many 5-star hotels as I have done since living here. I like trying out new things as much as the other person but like many people, I can also be a creature of comfort.

 Therefore, I was keen to go to Isaan, Thai restaurant at the Grand Hyatt.  We’ve been there several times including for my birthday. Deciding to ty something new, we went to Hilton as we have heard good things about their Asian Fusion restaurant. It was our first time visiting the hotel, and the concierge was very engaging as he showed us to the beach/pool side eatery. 

We were met by a bank of security guards who informed us that their dress code insisted on closed shoes for men. Despite being elegantly casual in linen trousers and shirt because he was wearing sandals (not flip flops), Kofi was denied entry. Never mind the bloke behind us looked like he’d just come off a logging expedition in dirty boots, jeans and faded plaid shirt. Did i mention that the restaurant was pool/beach side?

 As we make our way back to the front desk, I am intoning a litany of every inexplicable experience we’ve had since we got to this desert place. The concierge tries for 15 minutes to help us but to no avail. We leave and head for old faithful: Isaan. 

When we get to the Grand Hyatt we notice a sign for the Italian restaurant which we had not yet tried. We make a switch of continents and look for someone to show us the way. We come across one of the managers, Varun, who made my birthday extra special and every visit since he has treated us royally.

 He walks us to Rocca, sympathises with our plight at the Hilton and then sends us complementary Prosecco. Kofi and I share a starter platter, then we  indulge our sea-food passion, he with lobster linguine and me with the most butter-like pan fried Chilean sea bass. Always having room for dessert, I have  mango panna cotta with coconut ice cream. Life always looks better after mango and coconut.

 Since my birthday, Varun had asked me to write a review of Isaan on Tripadvisor, which out of laziness, I had yet to do. However, the Hilton had got me so angry that I had written and rewritten several scathing reviews in my head on the journey from there  to the Grand Hyatt. 

I reflected on that other human trait that I was displaying: the desire to complain more than compliment. Realizing that it would be unfair to write a review of the Hilton without doing one of the Grand Hyatt, I’ve added these to my ‘to do’ list.

 Ever had a service which compelled you to complain or compliment? Did you?

The zen of doing nothing … well almost

Today was the first day back to work after 11 days (including weekends) of Eid-ul-Fitr holiday. This is exclusive of annual leave entitlement.

Being the project manager that I am, I produced 2 lists of things to do over the vacation: one for us as a family and one for myself. Instead of being annoyed that we did not achieve much on the list, I am quite chilled about it.

On the family list we managed to put up Kwame’s height chart and a decorative sticker in the living room.  Also, Kofi thinks he has now compiled the longlist of photos of family and friends we will like to display – its only been 3 and half years since we’ve been living here.

All the other things gave way to relaxing (Kwame’s version of this includes doing maths – certainly not my genes), watching movies, playing snakes and ladders and ludo, reading together or individually (now we’re talking), eating proper breakfasts and .. spending time together.

On my list, I manage to achieve most of the things because it included –  write every day, finish beta-reading, go to gym, get my hair done, harass  call Passport Office , get photos done for Raffie’s Resident Permit,  in the hope of the imminent arrival of passports. I even got some new photos of me because though I could use existing photos to renew my Resident Permit, I thought why not?

And as Kofi’s birthday was the first day of Eid and we knew all the restaurants would be rammed, we delayed celebrating until last Sunday night but that deserves its own post.

Have you discovered the zen of doing almost nothing?